SEMA Member News—September 2019

Young Executives Network Seeks to Inspire and Engage

YENYoung Executives in different segments of the industry mix and mingle during the YEN Reception held in the Westgate Paradise Center.

The Young Executives Network (YEN) is poised to host events designed to energize and inspire young automotive professionals during this year’s SEMA Show—opportunities for its members to not only connect with and learn from one another but also interact with YEN leadership as well as more experienced industry pros.

YEN Lifts Off With Launch Pad

True to its name, the SEMA Launch Pad, presented by YEN, is an annual competition designed to give young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 39 an opportunity to introduce their products to the specialty-equipment industry. The top 15 semifinalists have already been selected and have advanced to the online voting stage, which closes on September 8.

“We were very impressed with the 15 Launch Pad semifinalists,” said Nathan Ridnouer, SEMA vice president of councils and membership. “The level of ingenuity and innovation gets better and better each year.”

From 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on Monday, November 4, at the Westgate Theater, the top five vote-getters will get to pitch their innovative products and concepts to a panel of experts in front of a live audience. Discovery Channel’s Aaron Kaufman of “Shifting Gears With Aaron Kaufman” will serve as the emcee. The grand-prize winner will earn a $10,000 award and an exhibit space at the Show.

“We’re excited for the seventh annual Launch Pad competition,” commented YEN Chair Kirstin Stone. “It’s important to YEN that we’re supporting the newest innovators within the industry and connecting them with the mentors who help cultivate their talent as they grow within the aftermarket. As attendance has grown each year, we’ve found the opportunity to get involved with bigger names, and this year we’re honored to have Aaron Kaufman as the host of the program. It means a ton that he was able to fit this program into his busy week, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

YEN Mixes It Up at Topgolf

Want to spend a fun evening hanging out with other YEN members and still get the latest news on what’s happening with your network? Then consider signing up to attend the YEN General Membership Meeting at Topgolf at the MGM on Monday, November 4, from 5:30 p.m.–7:30 p.m.

There’s no pressure to have a good golf swing or get a hole in one. It’s a chance to kick back, enjoy food and drinks, and hear what the YEN select committee has to say.

“This year, rather than gathering in another room at the Las Vegas Convention Center, we decided to try something a little different for our general membership meeting,” Stone said.

“People who’ve attended in the past will remember this as the meeting where YEN leadership rattles off a few bullet points about what we did last year and what we’re looking forward to in the coming year. This time, we’re taking it off-site and having some fun. You’ll still get the information download, but we’re looking forward to an opportunity for some relaxed enjoyment and to connect or reconnect with industry friends.”

Attendance to the event is limited, and early sign-up is required. To learn more, visit

YEN Celebrates at Annual Reception

For YEN members looking for another occasion to network with other young professionals from throughout the industry, the YEN Reception is the place to be on Tuesday, November 5, from 5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m. at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino. Billed as YEN’s primo event of the year, the reception—which, last year, drew more than 500 young industry peers—includes drinks, appetizers and fun activities.

During the awards ceremony, one leading professional will be named Young Executive of the Year, and the YEN Vanguard Award will be presented to an individual who actively supports young people in the industry.

“The YEN Reception is easily the most important event during the SEMA Show,” Stone said. “We welcome industry pros of all ages to come in, grab a drink and talk to likeminded professionals in a fun environment that allows real connections to happen. During the reception, we’ll also announce the Young Executive of the Year and the YEN Vanguard Award winner. So it’s a great opportunity to come out and celebrate the people having a huge impact on the YEN membership.” 

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